EL sewer rates to jump 6 percent

by Emmitt B. Feldner of The Review staff

ELKHART LAKE – Village residents will see a 6.25 percent increase in their monthly sewer bill starting next January.

The Village Board Monday approved an increase in the sewer rate from $4 to $4.25 per 100 cubic feet of water.

“During the budget process, we found that we’re not making money, we’re losing money on our sewer operations,” Assistant Administrator/Clerk/Treasurer Jessica Reilly told the board.

She explained that the Northern Moraine Utility, which provides sewer service to the village, has raised their charge to the village several times since the last time the village raised its rate.

“How soon will we be looking at this again,” Village President Alan Rudnick asked.

“We can look at it every year if we want to,” Administrator/ Clerk/Treasurer Jeanette Moioffer replied.

Rudnick reported that the village is close to completing a developer’s agreement with The Osthoff Resort for its planned 20,00-square foot conference center expansion, to be financed in part by the village’s Tax Incremental Finance District 3.

“We’re down to four points, three of which are pretty well done,” Rudnick told the trustees. “At this point, we’re 90 percent there.”

He said the goal was to have the agreement completed in time for a scheduled meeting of the Planning Commission Wednesday so the commission can approve the agreement.

If that happens, Rudnick said, he would plan to call a special Village Board meeting for Monday so the agreement can be ratified and The Osthoff can begin work on the $5 million expansion project.

“Are they going to have all their permits from the DNR in place,” Trustee Steve Kapellen asked.

He was referencing the need for expanded parking to accommodate the conference center expansion. Moioffer explained that The Osthoff must add 96 parking spaces and must get a permit from the DNR to build some of the parking on a wetland area.

“This is not a village issue, it is an Osthoff issue,” Rudnick commented.

Reilly noted that the proposed parking expansion is not within the boundaries of the TIF district, so it does not impact the TIF developer’s agreement.

“We did a developer’s agreement with Sargento before they got all their permits,” Reilly added, referring to the village’s TIF 2 aid to the expansion of Sargento’s facility in the village.

“The agreement could be that it does not go into effect until all permits are in place,” Trustee Michael Wolf said.

The board’s Administration and Finance Committee will be looking into requests to hold weddings on the public beach at Fireman’s Park and whether there should be rules to govern them.

That came in response to a request from Jennifer Dippel to hold her wedding on the beach on Saturday, July 26, 2014.

Reilly explained that the request was to hold the ceremony on the beach with a reception to follow at Victorian Village.

“They are planning on 150 guests and we normally haven’t had that big a party on the beach,” Reilly told the board. “They’re hoping to set up chairs and sound equipment on the grass area.”

Reilly said she told Dippel that the beach cannot be closed to the public during the planned ceremony.

Rudnick noted that the issue of holding weddings on the public beach comes up every year before the board and suggested that it might be a good issue to explore with an eye to creating rules to govern such use.

“This might be an opportunity for one of our committees to put together criteria for beach weddings,” he said before assigning the task to the Administration and Finance Committee.

The board adopted revisions to the dog ordinance limiting ownership to more than five dogs per household.

Wolf reported that the village will be sending out a letter to residents reminding them of the requirement to shovel the full width of public sidewalks after any snowstorm.

He noted that some residents had been shoveling only a narrow path on their sidewalks in the past.

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